Where do you draw the line between acceptable control of household matters and abusive behavior?
Those are good questions. Most abusers are about control and yes, most control the money (often leaving their victim with little or no money), seldom let them leave the home and if the victim can get out to run errands the abuser can sometimes actually time the distance and expect their victim to be back on the time given. The abuser will start early on in the relationship as to what the victim can or can't wear. Often the very thing that attracted them to the victim at the beginning was physical, but once they are in a relationship the abuser suddenly feels (she is his) and he'll not allow her to dress too sexy out in public or, he may be the type that wants her to look sexy so other men can envy him. Depends on the abusers personality. There is a gray area as you pointed out in your question regarding household matters. Some men/women have been brought up by either very poor or at least frugal parents and the father in most cases would have complete control over all money that came into that household. Women can do this too. My first husband's mother (when he lived at home) collected all 3 salaries from her sons and gave little back to them while she spent it like water. Some women (or men) don't want to know about bills or where the money goes. They may earn it, give it to their wife to hopefully pay bills and save what they can or some men will take over total control. It depends on who is better at finances. The norm is, that both parties should work together. My 2nd husband and I are respectful of each other. He can work long and hard hours, so I am the one that does the finances and I'm good at investing our money. If it's an important decision to buy a large item I will discuss it with him, and I also will sit down every two weeks and let him know where the money has gone and what we were able to save (some months are better than others.) If the woman is not working then yes, she should do household chores, but on weekends her mate should be willing to spend some time with her and even look after children if they have any so she can get a day off. It's simply respect of each other. Usually both partners work hard, but in different areas. I work from home now so I do much of the housework and cook, but on the weekends my husband will take me for dinner and he'll help with housework or even cook me a meal and that's just all about respect. When I do go out and work whoever is home first starts the dinner and after dinner both of us do the dishes and I make the lunches and we have the rest of evening to ourselves. Up until the late 50s men were embarrassed if their wives had to go out and work and it made many men feel that they weren't good providers. Now women want to go out and work and earn their independence, but, by doing this both partners (when they have children) have lost a great deal by both working. Some people have no choice, but the majority does and it boils down that many people want it all! Kids, a nice house, 2 cars and a career or just simply the woman wants to get out and work. The perfect balance is, have your children and the norm is the wife stays home, raises the children until school age, can then either take night school courses towards a career or have a part-time job and when the children are well into their teens years the woman is ready, willing and able to go after that career. On the rare occasion a woman may make more money than her spouse, and it doesn't really matter (if it's acceptable by the male spouse) if he stays home and plays "Mr. Mom" and his wife continues in her well-paying career. However, most men have pride and they would feel that they were being "kept" and would not usually agree with this particular scenario.